How to Write a Powerful Headline

By: Fred Farah

I always considered that a headline should be from 6 to 10 words, to both be effective and to not turn off the reader's attention by being too long. Have you noticed the trend these days of sales letters having headlines that take up the full screen and using a large font. Let's be honest, how can one sentence that is 6 to 8 LINES long be anything but sounding desperate?

If you can't write a headline with a maximum of 4 lines, then you end up with bad grammar, and the appearance of desperation, trying to say everything in the headline because you're afraid of losing your reader's attention.

I can hear some of you saying, well it works, so why not do it the long way. Well, I'm willing to read the information you're offering about any respectable product, without the exaggerations. Ridiculously long headlines imply weakness, and I just might avoid reading it.

Of course the same applies to the content, why repeat everything so often that you end up with a 20 page sales letter. Just because some say a long sales page sells better, doesn't mean exaggerate by repeating 12 times.

It just turns me off. Again, to me it implies insecurity and desperation.

Whether it's writing ads, blogs, emails or sales letters, try using some of these tips when writing your headlines. You may be amazed by the reaction you'll get...

Perhaps the most important aspect of a headline is this: Ask a Question. Do NOT just make a declarative statement, as they often come off too weak or sounding defensive. You just often get the wrong reaction.

Certain Words are good to use, so try to fit in as many as is suitable. Some examples of these powerful words are: Powerful, How to, Choose, decide, new, you, free (if it applies), dynamic.

NOW or URGENT imply Urgency and are very powerful

Other attention getting words are: warning, notice, Stop (what you are doing, people stop by instinct),

More words to consider: PreLaunch, Breakthrough, Discovery, First Time

Occasionally include symbols such as $, ?, >, *, %, ! etc

Consider asking a direct question, such as "Do You, Are You, Would You, If you would, etc

Deadlines can be very effective, use "This offer ends in 4 hours"

Making it selective, such as "You've been chosen..." may work well, although I personally hate it. When I see that exact statement, my instinctive reaction is the Delete Key.

Personalise the headline by including the reader's name

Don't make claims that aren't easy to prove

Use both upper and lower case letters in your copy. Don't type all in capitals, as it's the equivalent of SHOUTING on the Internet.

Be specific and List the main benefits of your product or service. This answers the reader's unspoken question of "what's in it for me"

You can even talk about the pain people may have if they don't use your product or service

So there you have it, just a few pointers on the subject of what makes a headline effective or not. Ask any copywriter, and you will no doubt get more tips, but these form the nucleous of a good headline.

Keep writing, and save your web site by having unique and useful information, with attractive headlines.

by Fred Farahcopyright 2007

Writing
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